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Most support multistate lottery

The results are in: Ohio residents want to join a multistate lottery, but legislators do not.

Thursday, April 19, 2001

The results are in: Ohio residents want to join a multistate lottery, but legislators do not.

In a survey by the University of Cincinnati, 53 percent of those surveyed want to see Ohio join a multistate lottery akin to the Powerball lotto played in both West Virginia and Kentucky.

Legislators, on the other hand, have already shot down one piece of legislation that would allow the lottery to join a multistate system.

Beverly Hart, a lottery retailer in both Chesapeake and in Huntington, W.Va., said she and several other lotto dealers have been in Columbus lobbying legislators to consider joining a multistate lottery. She said out of the seven legislators she spoke to, only one representative had an "open mind" about joining a larger lottery system.

Hart said the representatives are standing against joining a multistate lottery because of promises made while campaigning. She said this is the freshmen year for most of the representatives at the statehouse and along the way to Columbus, they made promises to the Coalition of Churches to stop lottery expansion. Now, the legislators are keeping their pledge to the church groups, she said.

Hart said she is surprised to see the lottery go under fire. The Ohio Lottery has been in existence since 1974 and, as Hart explained, "has not only paid for itself, but has paid for other government programs."

She said, "I never thought I would see the day when Ohio would receive so much verbal abuse for being a lottery state."

Hart added that by not allowing the lottery to expand the games offered and join a multistate system, legislators would "cut the throat of the goose that laid the golden egg."